Electrolyte drinks are designed for rapid rehydration.
Electrolyte drinks, often called sports drinks, are of most benefit to those living active lifestyles, undertaking exercise or participating in sporting activities.
They help with rehydration and are specifically formulated to rapidly replace fluid, carbohydrates and electrolytes.
Electrolyte drinks are regulated the Australia New Zealand Food Code, in particular Standard 2.6.2 (Non-Alcoholic Beverages and Brewed Soft Drinks).
Beverages that are marketed as electrolyte drinks in New Zealand must meet the compositional standards set out in the Code and must comply with the labelling requirements.
Under the Code, electrolyte drinks must contain between 5 and 10 percent sugar content. Carbohydrates provide the body fuel as well as contributing to the drink’s flavour.
There is also a requirement for minimum sodium content, which the body loses when it sweats. Sodium also improves the body’s absorption of carbohydrate and water. As well as sodium, potassium is often included as an electrolyte drink.
Fluid uptake via electrolyte drinks is better than with water alone.
It should be noted that sports waters and vitamin waters are not classified as electrolyte drinks and, while still regulated by the Australia New Zealand Food Code, do not need to meet these specific criteria set out for electrolyte drinks.